Friday Aug 19, 2016

Process Excellence Innovators Take the Wheel

By: Mike Metcalf, Oracle

Enterprises – from industries as diverse as banking and manufacturing – are focused on bringing a new level of discipline and sustained success to their continuous improvement (CI) initiatives. And, there’s good reason for this renewed interest as CI and process excellence (PEX) initiatives prove themselves essential to securing – and, more importantly, maintaining – a competitive advantage in today’s challenging economic climate.

As expectations for CI and PEX evolve, so too must the ways in which enterprises manage these critical business initiatives. Increasingly, many organizations are looking to apply project portfolio management (PPM) methodologies and tools that offer a strategic path forward – enabling them to drive more successful and sustained business transformation and process improvement (PI).

I’d like to share insight from three organizations that are innovators in using PPM cloud-based solutions to drive successful PI and PEX initiatives. Click on the video links below to watch short clips from my panel discussion with these industry leaders: Leslie Behnke, Vice President, Process Improvement and Service Quality, TD Bank Group; Robert Woodford, Director, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Project and Testing Services, Ross Stores; and Steven Ehmann Director, Process Excellence & Innovation, Verizon.

TD Bank Cashes in for Greater Collaboration Across North America

After the 2008 financial crisis, banks turned to PEX initiatives to be more effective and efficient to get back up and running. TD Bank, one of the 10 largest banks in the United States with around 26,000 employees, was no different. It looked for a scalable PPM solution that would help it manage PEX projects more simply while enabling greater collaboration across the business – from bank tellers, to engineers, to the IT team. The bank created a core group of six people to manage a few projects with 10 million dollars of annualized savings the first year. Today, this core group includes over 100 people who handle thousands of continuous improvement projects that have to date yielded more than $1 billion in total benefits.

With a cloud-based PPM solution in place, TD Bank has the scale to manage thousands of PEX initiatives and can support a holistic approach to managing multiple large scale projects across North America as well as a robust and continuous PI culture. The bank now has an end-to-end system with all projects in one place – enabling TD Bank to keep track of projects and align them to the strategic imperative (operational excellence and transformation) while having an accurate view of PI efforts, risk and compliance, cost reduction, and more.

Ross Stores Seals the Deal with Increased Visibility

As minimum wages rise, the need to squeeze every dollar possible on project execution becomes increasingly important. Ross Stores, a retail chain selling brand-name clothing, shoes, accessories, and housewares at discount prices, was feeling this pressure and looked to achieve greater precision around its PI initiatives.

The company was looking for a unified view across the enterprise and a one-stop shop for project execution that tracked and measured project data and could alert management to any emerging PEX project issues, delays, or risks no matter the location. With this capability, Ross Stores could drive a cultural shift that supports early identification and addressing of potential issues. Ross Stores has adopted a crawl, walk, run approach to CI project management. Now in the walk phase and with a PPM solution in place, Ross Stores has better visibility into bottlenecks through enhanced project tracking, aggregated financial reporting, and insight into resource capabilities. By having access to data geographically and hierarchically, the company has greater insight as to where they should focus their efforts, enabling Ross Stores to improve project execution.

Verizon Answers the Call with Better Decision-Making

Verizon, the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States, was looking for a holistic view of PEX initiatives across the enterprise that included a clear view of financials and a central repository for the intellectual property created across its teams and stakeholders.

The Fortune 15 company with 178,000 employees started its PEX journey four years ago from the ground floor to figure out how it could make better PEX decisions for the future based on facts. To get up and running quickly, Verizon turned to a cloud-based PPM solution that it could use to easily and quickly train, coach, and deploy design tools with the intent of delivering enhanced value through PI projects. Today, the enterprise has a repository that highlights milestones, reviews, and alerts stakeholders of how the portfolio is progressing.

Verizon is now making better decisions for tomorrow with increased insight into PEX projects – enabling it to deliver benefits to customers and shareholders, train future leaders more effectively, and continue to evolve the company’s culture for continued improvement and success.

To get more insight from these industry leaders, check out more videos here, watch the full panel discussion here, and stay tuned for more blogs on effectively managing process improvement initiatives.

Tuesday Jul 19, 2016

Perfecting the Process of Process Improvement

by Mike Metcalf, Director, Services Strategy, Oracle

Efficiency drives have elevated process improvement to the top of corporate agendas. But, many companies fail to recognize that process improvement is itself a process—and it’s probably the one you should focus on perfecting first.

Process improvement (PI) is a broad concept, and different companies approach it in very different ways. Some look for the most obvious improvements and make them first. Others dig deep into their processes and spend significant time assessing where the biggest issues may lie.

There’s no single place to begin, but your process improvement choices should always be directed and guided by your organization’s strategic goals. For example, if risk management is a strategic goal, then focus on initiatives that align to that, such as regulatory management, reputation management, and operational-risk management. And just like any other process in your business, there are best practices for how process improvement should be conducted.

Best practice #1: Gather and evaluate everybody’s ideas

Because executives have a broad overview of the organization, it’s easy to think they might be the best people to identify processes in need of improvement. While that’s true to some extent, it’s also extremely important that you gauge the opinions of the people closest to the processes—the employees contributing to them, their line managers, and any external stakeholders that engage with them. If you want to improve customer loyalty, you’ll want to involve employees from sales, service, and contact center teams who have direct contact with customers and in their day-to-day jobs and may have good insight into what’s working and what’s not.

Gathering, evaluating, and managing ideas from that many sources can be a challenge in itself, so it’s a good idea to leverage a project management platform that can provide an overview of every potential process improvement project in your pipeline.

Best practice #2: Keep all your efforts visible to everyone

Process improvement is an ongoing initiative at most organizations. At any given moment, your business can be progressing with many distinct process improvement projects—each being handled by different teams with different objectives.

With so much going on, it’s easy to lose track of a specific project, or to let one drift away from its original objectives. Visibility is the key to maintaining control over it all and ensuring everyone stays aligned to your organization’s strategic goals. It helps to keeps process improvement projects moving efficiently; supports synergy between projects and identification of best practices; illuminates potential conflicts; and improves overall collaboration. With complete visibility of your process improvement project portfolio, you can also retain executive buy-in by clearly demonstrating what’s happening, where it’s happening, and why.

Best practice #3: Understand what makes change projects unique

Perhaps the most significant difference between traditional projects and a PI projects is that PI projects typically cross every boundary within the organization. They extend vertically down through the organizational management structure, from the CEO to the part-time employee, horizontally across all departments from purchasing and product development, to sales and marketing, and beyond the internal organizational boundaries to stakeholders, such as customers and vendors.

The second most significant difference is that PI projects are generally in the “spotlight” and are highly visible to management and senior executives. If the project is unsuccessful (fails to deliver the anticipated results), the damage to the business can be significant, and the responsibility for the damage can fall on the project manager.

In addition, while most traditional projects have a well-defined beginning and end, PI initiatives include ongoing monitoring, measurement, and assessment that extend long after a new process has been introduced—requiring the ongoing involvement of the continuous improvement team.

With PPM solutions, metrics from individual projects can feed up into strategic themes and give an up-to-date picture of where they are headed. Users can drill down to see which projects are not performing as expected based on predetermined success factors.

Achieving process excellence is a journey

Process improvement is a journey. Trial and error might get you where you want to be eventually, but at a significant price in terms of financial and time investment. If you want to improve business processes in the most intelligent, efficient, and strategic way possible, it’s important to find tools that can grow with you.

From visibility and idea evaluation, to collaboration and post-improvement analysis, the right enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) platform can give you a single source of truth for all your process improvement efforts, and help you track your progress towards process excellence.

If you’re planning your journey to process excellence and want to find more about the tech that can help, read our best practice guide at https://go.oracle.com/LP=29197 today and get more expert advice to help you make sure every step you take is the right one.

Wednesday Jul 06, 2016

How to Turn Facilities and Asset Management into a Competitive Advantage

Enterprises are taking a fresh look at facilities and asset management—and reaping a number of business benefits.

In the past, executives often treated spending for this area as a sunk cost, but growing numbers of forward-thinking leaders are now embracing facilities and asset lifecycle management (FALM) as a way to drive organizational value.

Research by the Aberdeen Group shows why. The firm found that enterprises that excel in FALM see more than 90 percent of their projects coming in on schedule or earlier than anticipated. These organizations also reported minimal costs to process work orders and achieved double-digit decreases in maintenance and energy expenses.

"Enterprise success and growth can only be obtained through the management of the many complex processes within facilities management, such as planning, portfolio management, lease management and project management," the Aberdeen analysts concluded. "For the Best-in-Class [organizations] it starts with the effective management of their real estate/property portfolio."

The Key to FALM Success
Oracle's Primavera Facilities and Asset Lifecycle Management is an end-to-end solution that helps organizations manage everything from capital planning, project delivery, and execution to real estate, leases, and maintenance activities.

"The solution addresses the biggest challenges organizations face when trying to achieve successful FALM," says Sherief Elabd, Oracle director of business development and industry strategy. "This includes selecting the proper deployment options, integrating FALM with ERP systems, and ensuring FALM serves inter-operational teams to maintain collaboration and transparency."

Primavera's FALM solution leverages modern Oracle Fusion technology and is built on best practices across the entire facilities and asset lifecycle, the solution provides a single, integrated platform that brings together every phase of the facilities lifecycle At the same time, it's also highly configurable to meet the unique needs of each company's industry and business processes and regulatory and compliance requirements. Because, it uses the Oracle Cloud environment, organizations can choose to deploy it using public, private, or hybrid cloud models.

"Technology disruptions to the industry are evolving to match the accelerating pace of change and innovation in the digital workplace," Elabd says. "FALM is a modern technology platform that targets organizations aiming to achieve visibility, transparency and collaboration into cross-functional teams across the planning, building, and operating phases."

Learn more about Oracle's Primavera Facilities and Asset Lifecycle Management by downloading eBooks, videos, on-demand webcasts, and a wide range of other materials.

Tuesday Jun 28, 2016

Learn How Oracle's Primavera Smart City Projects Solution Can Reduce the Risks of Transformation Initiatives

Cities throughout the world are facing similar pressures—growing populations and heightened expectations among constituents are spurring planners to introduce a wide range of modern citizen services. Smart City transformation initiatives are one answer, but they also present significant hurdles.

"To implement a transformation roadmap, leaders must orchestrate many interrelated projects and initiatives," says Werner Maritz, Oracle Director of Public Sector and Infrastructure Strategy. "They often span multiple areas, including transportation, energy, water, education, healthcare, safety, and security. As a result, planners must successfully manage complex project portfolios."

It's no wonder that cities are struggling with all this complexity. For example, to ensure maximum value creation for the citizens, city leaders must select the correct projects to implement from the large number of possible opportunities available to them. Second, these stakeholders must secure adequate funding for all projects selected, either from public or private sector sources. Lastly, leaders must accurately track how these funds are being allocated to specific projects in the city, thereby ensuring financial governance across the Smart City project portfolio.

A new interactive playbook, "360° Overview an Oracle Primavera Framework," explains the forces fueling Smart Cities transformations and offers practical advice and case studies to guide the creation of successful implementation strategies.

The playbook also provides insights into Oracle's Primavera Smart City Projects Solution, which draws on the extensive capabilities of the Oracle technology platform. The solution deals effectively with the complexity of working across multiple verticals or responsibilities in the city through its easy to use web based interface. The solution's ability to manage a program level critical path schedule across multiple projects simplifies the co-ordination of delivery dates and milestones between various contractors and suppliers, provides visibility of relevant project information to all stakeholders involved in bringing the Smart City transformation initiatives to citizens. Post-build Oracle's Primavera continues to deliver visibility, providing full infrastructure management across the entire lifecycle.

"The modern city leader understands that a technology platform like Oracle Primavera could assist them in managing the complexity and delivering real value to their citizens in exchange for the taxes levied by the city," Maritz says. "We can help with the processes and systems to assist the people in building their capabilities in this area."

Download the Interactive Playbook: 360° Overview An Oracle Framework. Take advantage of additional Smart Cities resources, including whitepapers, videos, and solution briefs.

Tuesday May 31, 2016

Setting the Stage for Lasting Success with Project Portfolio Management

By: Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager, Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle

Process improvement (PI) and process excellence (PEX) initiatives, stalwarts of the modern enterprise, are increasingly under the corporate microscope. Starting in the C-suite, expectations are rising as organizations – facing a challenging economic climate and growing regulatory burdens – embrace continuous improvement as an essential element to securing a competitive advantage.

PI and IT have a complicated relationship. Enterprises undertake IT initiatives to improve business performance. In many cases, however, the technology ends up driving process change – for better or worse. Insufficient alignment between business and IT is often at the heart of this growing issue.

Ultimately, leadership wants to ensure that these initiatives align optimally with and support broader business strategies, and are flexible enough to adapt to a web of ever-changing regulations. As important, they want to better predict, measure, and optimize the impact of their PI/PEX initiatives. Speed is also essential in the age of digital transformation as enterprises seek to accelerate insight, action, and outcomes.

These competing requirements can be a tall order for many enterprises as they work to achieve a new level of maturity for their PI/PEX programs. Increasingly, organizations are finding an answer in an unexpected place – project portfolio management (PPM) – a domain traditionally associated, in many enterprises, with IT initiatives.

Selecting the Right Tools

Many PI/PEX initiatives are, in fact, complex projects. As such, it’s logical that PPM methodologies and tools can help to ensure their success.

A McKinsey & Company report found that organizations that actively manage their initiative portfolios can create significantly more value – up to 30 percent more. Further, organizations that formally manage the OpEX initiatives as a portfolio report that projects are always aligned with business strategy 62 percent of the time. These are promising proof points for PI practitioners focused on integrating strategy and action.

It’s important to consider that not all PPM solutions are universally suited to all types of initiatives. Many were designed to support traditional projects, such as capital improvements or IT installations. Line-of-business managers responsible for PI/PEX initiatives have a distinct and often broader set of requirements. For example, PI/PEX professionals must not only manage execution of the project, but facilitate its integration with larger enterprise strategies and goals and then measure its ultimate impact on operations.

When evaluating PPM solutions for use in P/PEX initiatives, it is important to consider multiple factors and requirements, such as:

  • Does the solution enable strategy mapping and tracking to promote alignment between business priorities and PI/PEX initiatives?
  • Does it support continuous improvement over time – enabling migration from one area to the next – from business transformation to continuous improvement?
  • Are you able to identify, track, and manage costs – direct and indirect, capital expenses and operational expenses, real time vs. historical?

The Road Ahead

The PI/PEX landscape is changing, spurring organizations to turn to PPM methodologies and tools that help ensure success while juggling the balance and intersection of IT and PI. PPM offers a clear and strategic path forward – enabling PI leaders and professionals to overcome the complex strategy-execution gap of PI/PEX initiatives and continually sustain change and build on success. PPM solutions, like Oracle’s Instantis EnterpriseTrack, provide organizations with the tools needed to improve strategy execution and drive successful business transformation initiatives.

Check out our white paper, “Process Excellence Re-Imagined,” to learn more and get ongoing insight and practical advice on effectively managing process improvement in an upcoming blog series from Mike Metcalf, director services industry strategy, Oracle Primavera.

Friday May 20, 2016

1: IDENTIFY - what to build and where to build it

Written by: Werner Maritz, Director Public Sector and Infrastructure Strategy, Oracle Corporation

The physicist William Pollard said that “those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

This is essentially the approach that smart business, technology, and political leaders are taking when it comes to considering the future of cities across the globe. The world’s population currently stands at 7.5 billion – and 54% of it is urban. By 2050 the UN predicts that another 2.5 billion people will have been added to urban populations, adding further strain.

This is increasing the sense of urgency for smart city visionaries to turn their plans into reality – and they also need enough time to test and learn before an urban crisis takes hold.

The first step in planning a smart city project is to identify the constraints on urban populations, followed by defining the concepts and visions that can address these constraints. Once the problem and apparent smart solution has been formulated in initial planning, the project must be cross-examined using all the data available. Smart city projects may seem smart today but do data forecasts also indicate that the project will be fit for purpose after completion? Tomorrow’s critical issues may be different or more pronounced, and your smart city project must be able to cope to avoid becoming redundant or failing to deliver the cost savings that smart cities are capable of.

It’s this future-gazing approach to problem solving via smart technology systems that will define the projects worthy of investment from the rest of the pack.

Another crucial element of the project identification process is finding out who can support and build these projects, and be under no illusion - there are huge risks involved, especially when projects are funded with public money.

Even with the best intentions, overhauling a public system will come under intense scrutiny so it’s vital that the right contractors, materials and project ‘owners’ are identified from the start.

The fastest growing sector for smart initiatives is the automation of industry – but today there are projects that range from NFC enabled parking guides which reduce traffic congestion, to open data schemes that give citizens access to better information about their city. All successful smart city projects – big or small - start with a bold, but thoughtful, vision and must sit on a foundation of careful research.

Oracle Primavera’s SMART City Projects solution helps cities manage these challenges using modern collaborative, social and mobile tools, backed with disciplined project management and analytical applications at the core. To find out more, visit our interactive playbook here https://goo.gl/1rxGdc

Tuesday May 17, 2016

Providing Individualized Content to Clients and Employees

Civil + Structural Engineer

By:  Bob Drake

http://cenews.com/article/10344/providing-individualized-content-to-clients-and-employees

According to Oracle, modern technology has created an era of where personalized experiences are no longer just nice to have, essential to stay competitive. Oracle released a report The Era I Enterprise: Ready for Anything summarizing a survey of 300 C-level executives across 10 industries to understand how prepared organizations are to address the fact that consumers increasingly expect, and even demand, to have it their way. The report revealed that most organizations are dealing with this shift 84 percent of respondents across all industry sectors said their organization has experienced a trend toward customers wanting a more individualized experience and 70 percent have experienced this trend from employees but fewer than 20 percent give their organization an in its ability to offer those experiences.

Within the engineering and construction industry, 77 percent of respondents have experienced a trend toward customers wanting a more individualized experience; 67 percent have experienced this same trend with employees (see Figure 1). Fifty-seven percent of engineering and construction executives surveyed said this shift is a growing challenge in their ability to compete effectively.

Digital age has brought us to a point where we now expect the ability to make real-time decisions, transact, and customize options at the tap of the screen. In the new service-driven economy, innovative enterprises must focus on two things: taking care of their customers and taking care of their said Bob Weiler, executive vice president, Global Business Units, Oracle. study reveals that organizations are unprepared to manage the need for personalization in Era I, but those seeking a competitive advantage stand to gain.

Respondents in the engineering and construction industry said the greatest opportunity for the industry to take advantage of more individualized content, products, and services for customers and/or employees are the following (respondents asked to select all that apply):

  • More interactive and connected enterprise project portfolio management that delivers highly personalized information to stakeholders (engineers, contractors, project management, owners, etc.) in their preferred format (63 percent);
  • Mapping and planning the entire life cycle of a facility from design and engineering through decommissioning (60 percent);
  • Effectively modeling and communicating the impact (on cost and schedule) of specific change orders (53 percent); and
  • Building information modeling (43 percent)

These engineering and construction executives said that the biggest obstacles the industry faces in delivering more individualized content, products, and/or services are (respondents asked to select all that apply):

  • Budget/cost constraints (63 percent);
  • Experienced staff retiring/attracting talent (47 percent);
  • Inability to effectively share real-time data with clients, partners, contractors, engineers, and project managers (43 percent);
  • Security concerns (33 percent); and
  • Inability to manage and analyze project data (27 percent)

According to survey, nearly all organizations surveyed (97 percent) believe IT investments from business intelligence tools to customer experience solutions to industry-specific applications will play a vital role in improving their ability to offer individualized customer and employee experiences. Furthermore, within the engineering and construction sector, 70 percent of respondents said there is an important link between cloud-based IT solutions and their ability to offer an individualized experience.

Among benefits of cloud-based IT solutions are scalability and flexibility, said Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Primavera. Security concerns are related more to use of mobile devices than to the cloud itself, he said.

Friday Mar 18, 2016

Five Competitive Killers in the Manufacturing “Engineer to Order” Process

Call it a streetcar not desired. In September 2015, Seattle, Washington’s Department of Transportation issued penalties of nearly $800,000 against Czech company Inekon for failing to meet deadlines in delivering new, customized street cars to the city after a series of software glitches, propulsion problems, water damage in six out of seven inverters, and unfinished items like way-finding graphics and the customer information system. As of year’s end, the first street car was scheduled to arrive two years late -- not a glittering endorsement for the company.

#1 Making the customer wait – not to mention the penalties that come with those delays -- is just one of several competitive killers that manufacturers face in the Engineer-to-Order business.

ETO projects, those highly customized, small volume designs that require unique materials and sometimes last months or years, are perhaps the most vulnerable to competitive killers due to their very nature. Designs change, delivery of specialized materials could be delayed, technology updates, things could go wrong. Manufacturers that venture into ETO projects must be ready to slay these competitive killers.

#2 Rework and failures

Changes in design are inevitable in ETO projects, but lapses in transparency and communication between customers, partners and the manufacturer are not. The need for unnecessary rework hits the bottom line.

Boeing knows this all too well. In July 2015, the aerospace manufacturer took yet another charge against its USAF aerial refueling tanker program, the KC-46A. This time the price tag was $536 million after taxes, bringing the total charges to date to more than $800 million, according to one report. The KC-46 tanker is being designed, developed and tested under a fixed-price Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract.  

The additional charges, according to Boeing’s president and CEO, reflect higher estimated engineering and manufacturing costs to complete development, certification and initial production of the tanker aircraft, while holding to the program schedule for initial production deliveries in 2017. While Boeing had improved its processes after producing similar tankers for Italian and Japanese air forces, the fueling system is new to the USAF and different from the previous tankers.

#3 Overproduction

Even when an ETO project appears to be running smoothly, there are other aspect of ETO projects that can go south. Companies that manage more than one ETO project at a time can face overproduction due to a lack of oversight and coordination across projects. For instance, project managers arbitrarily set a pre-define margin of safety, but smaller ETO projects can tolerate a smaller margin of safety. Another pitfall to avoid -- if production starts too early, designs can change and require further production – adding to the waste.

#4 Too much inventory

Multiple ETO projects can also lead to unnecessary inventory. Procurement specialists sometimes buy larger quantities than they need to meet minimum order quantities, or they want to take advantage of quantity discounts, but in reality the true carrying or holding costs can often be greater than what was originally saved.

#5 Not automating the entire ETO project management process

Manufacturers need visibility across their entire project portfolio to determine optimal bid prices, better estimate delivery dates, reduce lead times, and be better able to accommodate change orders without compromising margins or delivery schedules. Updates should also be communicated regularly with the client and suppliers to keep inventory and production on track.

Oracle Primavera’s enterprise solution addresses the challenges of the ETO process. It can help ETO businesses make changes quickly, collaborate with stakeholders easily, understand where they are in the process, manage resources so they’re ready when needed, and ultimately deliver the product on time and on budget.

In highly specialized manufacturing, customer satisfaction is key. Oracle Primavera allows manufacturers to build tighter relationships through open transparency and repeatable success. Check out our White Paper, “Building a Profitable Engineer-to-Order Business,” to learn more.

For more information on Primavera’s Engineer-to-Order Solution visit www.oracle.com/goto/eto

Monday Mar 07, 2016

Two Worlds Colliding

By: Krista Lambert, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Bringing together the best of both worlds

Site foremen are formidable people. You don’t want to feel the force of their frustration. When someone else’s mistake plays havoc with their plans or makes them miss deadlines, it can create unbearable situations.

But you can avoid frustrating your foremen with short interval planning. It’s a technique used in Lean Construction, designed to flush inefficiency out of the system. The technique relies on frequent and open collaboration on the job. The idea is that short-term plans are created daily to adapt to changing circumstances, ensuring employees are not left scratching their heads with nothing to do.

But it has its shortcomings.

It could miss important dependencies in the project which, if ignored, could delay completion. Since the 1940s the critical path method has been developed to seek out these dependencies, showing project managers where to focus their energies if they want to avoid being late.

And yet the critical path method is often set against short interval planning as if project managers and planners must pick one method or the other to succeed. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

The tools and technologies to bring the two approaches together – and get the best from both – are available today. The reality is that an open approach can help you stay in touch with the project whatever is thrown at you at any stage of the project giving you greater control.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Thursday Mar 03, 2016

How can I deliver better projects in my Smart City?

By: Werner Maritz, Public Sector and Infrastructure Industry Strategy

The world is watching - 10 Game Changing Characteristics

Globally city managers are faced with an ever-increasing city population and a decrease in financial and human resources to deliver adequate services across the city region. The challenge of ensuring the city’s sustainability must be seen against a backdrop of increased environmental and social awareness, economic pressure and competition for public and private investment in and around the city. City managers are often faced with challenges related to ensuring basic human rights, dignity, safety and security for the poorest of residents while delivering on the life style demands and expectations from the richest of residents. Often these diverse groups are living in close proximity of each other and resources must be allocated and shared. Given this familiar situation, city management need to prioritize capital and social investment to deliver on the strategic objectives of the city, a fine balancing act indeed.

City managers need to take a holistic approach in planning the future growth and improvements across the city to ensure not only cost-effective services delivery of and new infrastructure but also ensure synergy across the city responsibilities related to Built Environment, Economic and Social Infrastructure to ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the city. From breaking down the traditional silo approach of the City departments to having real-time insight of the transversal infrastructure demand and backlog across these departments is critical to effective investment planning in the city. Eliminating duplication of effort between departments and leveraging synergy to achieve common objectives is key to a successful Smart City Transformation Roadmap.

Leveraging continuous technology advances and improving cost-benefits ratio of technology to improve the productivity of the city’s infrastructure, city managers face an ever-increasing portfolio of new projects to be delivered across the city. Often these are complex, long term programs consisting of multiple sub-projects to plan, co-ordinate, and implement with due regard to operational effectiveness improvements in the process. Monitoring performance and taking timely corrective action is critical in delivering these long-range programs on time and within budget in a complex delivery environment with multiple stakeholders.

Effectively transitioning the city’s new assets into the operations and maintenance phase is critical to ensure early value generation from these investments, and to manage and maintain these assets at their design capacity and capability over many years to come.

 

Oracle Primavera Smart City Projects Solution

A significant challenge in the implementation of Smart City Transformation Roadmaps across the world is related to securing adequate funding for the projects on the roadmap. Development Financing Institutions (DFI) and potential Public Private Partnerships (PPP) indicate that adequate funding is available to realize the Smart City Transformation goals but they have two main investment decision considerations:

  • The availability of investment grade project opportunities, and
  • The assurance that adequate financial control and governance processes are in place during the project implementation phase.

The Oracle Primavera Smart City Projects Solution delivers 10 characteristics, which will significantly contribute to meeting these requirements:

1. Implement a detailed project portfolio management process to show the alignment of the investment opportunity with the overall strategic objectives of the city. Track the development and approval of deliverables across project development phases. Show how the business case for the project supports the longer term vision of the Smart City transformation roadmap and how benefits realization will be tracked once in operation;

2. Establish a standard platform for program and project set-up, project management and project close-out processes. Ensuring predicable and repeatable project processes and structures facilitate effective project administration;

3. Set a standard for project performance monitoring and reporting. Standard performance reporting across all projects enables decision makers to take early corrective action based on real-time metrics indicating deviation from planned cost and schedule objectives. Poor performance from contractors and suppliers is a leading cause of project failure

4. Enforce project and financial governance processes through configurable workflow for change requests and financial approvals. Ensure the auditability of actions taken by project team members and tracking of contractual deliverables;

5. Implement a formal project scope and contract change management processes. Align the interim contract payments with a formal schedule of values under the contract terms and conditions. Only make payments for work actually completed and certified;

6. Enable electronic correspondence management, document tracking, document control and electronic document handover across all project team members, city operating divisions and external stakeholders. Create a full electronic record of the project to ensure proper project hand-over, close-out and dispute resolution support;

7. Leverage transactional control data in the City’s ERP to enable informed cost and cash-flow management and forecasting. Integrating the Oracle Primavera Smart City Project Solution with the City’s ERP solution will promote operational efficiency and financial data integrity.

8. Implement a formal program and project risk management platform, integrated with the cost and schedule management of the project. Effective program and project risk management is one of the most under-estimated forward looking management tools within the overall project governance framework;

9. Establish a collaborative environment between the city project owner’s team, engineers, consultants, main contractors and sub-contractors. Clear and timely communication between team members reduce project schedule delays due to delayed decisions caused by slow communications;

10. Implement a formal post contract award management environment in support of the chosen contract format. This will facilitate contracts administration, contract change management, interim payment certification, partial and full contract deliverables handover and acceptance. Ensuring compliance with the conditions of the contracts between the city and the contractor will reduce the project cost growth due to uncontrolled contract changes. Preventing litigation related to contested contract changes is an effective manner to contain cost growth and wasteful expenditure on a project

 

Easy to deploy

In todays fast passed city environment the deployment of integrated management systems need to provide the agility the Smart City Transformation Roadmap demands. Unfortunately city IT managers often face challenges to deploy any form of integrated management systems to stakeholders outside of the city administration. In part, this may be due to cost consideration, the city’s procurement policies or data security considerations.

The Oracle Primavera Smart City Projects Solution is a fully web based solution which can be deployed as a Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) solution from Oracle or as an on-premise solution in the city’s own IT environment. The Oracle Primavera solution is designed for the extended enterprise. Cost effective licencing models put the solution within reach of all project stakeholders. The user access and security model is designed to enable deployment outside of only the city administration, allowing the operational efficiencies of a truly integrated project delivery platform across the city and its stakeholders.

The Oracle Primavera solution supports the use of mobile devises to facilitate a productive workforce across the city. Leveraging the city’s communication networks allow project team members and stakeholders to access project planning and contract information, status activities and contracts, and access reports and dashboards while on the go from their mobile devices.

 

1PPM for Intermodal Transportation & Infrastructure Organizations: Select, Manage and Maintain Transformative Projects. Aberdeen Group, March 2015

 

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Today